Picking up the black walnut

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by slc, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    About to go to the sawmill and pick up the lumber produced from half the black walnut trees I cut down a year ago.

    My woodworking pal told me to be prepared. That I would be getting the equivalent of a couple toothpicks back. LOL.

    So I have prepared myself to be quite underwhelmed, but I still don't quite believe him. I still think it'll be great, LOL.

    Anybody else like cutting down trees and making them into stuff?
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    I've cut down oak trees and made stepping stones from them. THAT was a project. My arm got tired half way and it ended up taking me three sessions to get it all cut into 3" rounds. But the walkway was killer~!!
     
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  3. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I've used about 3000 board foot of Black Walnut and Poplar off our property since moving here in 2000. Woodworking is a serious avocation of mine; I'm actually back at it more these days as I really haven't been able to ride due to back and hip issues.

    Air dried black walnut is a favorite of mine, including for natural edge type pieces a la Nakashima. Sadly, my "inventory" is down to only a few boards left from the on-site milling. Only cherry surpasses black walnut in my "likes" when I'm "playing" in here...

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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  4. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    My gawd Jim~!! That's not just a workshop, that's a fine furniture factory~!! :bow::bow::bow:
     
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  5. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I had a few really good years back in the early 2000s (pre-kid-adoptions) and was enjoying woodworking so much that I decided to get the fine Euro machinery then since I knew that someday I wouldn't be able to afford to get it post-retirement. (At this point, I don't know that I'll be able to actually retire...with two kids, well...) I do take a few small commissions, but it's mostly for "me time" right now due to work and family demands. I moderate at two other forums and one of them is about the largest and longest-lived online woodworking community. (The other is for Jeeps) I also did some free-lance writing for Wood Magazine a number of years ago for their online presence.
     
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  6. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

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    The best I've built with the trees we've cut down is really good fires in the fireplace! :)
     
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  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Well after over a year of being under cover, in a dry garage, up off the floor, this wood is nowhere near dry! The logs are just too big and would require an awful lot more time to air dry. I really have to get my horse trailer back in the bay where the wood was in the garage (I did have it parked in my indoor arena so it was under cover, but need full use of the indoor now).

    Since I now have half of it sawn, I'm going to get the other half sawn and take it all to a kiln for stickering and kiln drying.

    We got caught in an unexpected (thankfully light) rain on the way home with the first load. I hope to get it all to the kiln before the top boards on the load have a chance to be damaged. I'm hoping to get the first batch to the kiln today. I'm about to run over there in the car and see what's up.

    Jim...that is the most beautiful workshop I have ever seen. If you would like to explain/list the equipment you have, I would love the education.

    I am having most of the wood sawn to a thickness for cabinets and counter tops, and some of the wood sawn to 2'' thick and with natural edges. One of the logs is quite irregular and should let me make a beautiful natural edge table.

    I am hoping to make Euro-style cabinet fronts, regular cabinet fronts (for existing cabinets), a box bed, and a slab table with my paltry knowledge and tools. I'll buy what I need and learn as I go along.

    Probably the most difficult thing I'm going to do is box in a huge utility sink that sits on an ash frame, and integrate that with the rest of the counter top. I've got a good amount of red Texas slate for the counter top redo. The whole project will take a long time. I'll do it as health and time allows.

    I've done other wood projects. We built a huge wooden bin so we can bulk buy bagged feeds. And I made a baltic birch box with wheels, to keep a week's worth of bagged feeds in the tack room, some book shelves, a shop table (nothing as good as yours, just utilitarian), and other projects. But nothing like this. Any advice or admonitions are very welcome.

    from Jim:

    I've used about 3000 board foot of Black Walnut and Poplar off our property since moving here in 2000. Woodworking is a serious avocation of mine; I'm actually back at it more these days as I really haven't been able to ride due to back and hip issues.

    Air dried black walnut is a favorite of mine, including for natural edge type pieces a la Nakashima. Sadly, my "inventory" is down to only a few boards left from the on-site milling. Only cherry surpasses black walnut in my "likes" when I'm "playing" in here...


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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  8. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you. It's dusty, but comfortable. :) Most of my gear is Italian made MinMax brand by industrial tool maker SCMI. From them, I use a sliding table saw, a jointer/planer combination machine and a heavy bandsaw. I also have an Australian made lathe by Stubby. My hand-held power tools are primarily Festool which is an incredible system. Not inexpensive "up front" but less expensive over time due to quality and longevity. The dust collection cyclone system (in the closet at the right of the top photo is from Oneida, a Syracuse NY based US manufacturer. There's a lot of other things that joined the shop over the years including quality hand tools (planes, chisels, etc.) and...clamps...something you can never have too many of. :)

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    This is a closer view of the sliding table saw
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    Upstairs, I have storage, including this lumber rack. (empty because the photo was taken during construction of it)
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    Outside...
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  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Oh my gosh. That's a beautiful workshop. Lookit all those clamps! :bow: :faint:

    I went to the kiln company. I decided to go over in the car instead as I wasn't sure if they could take the wood today and I was afraid it would get rained on before getting treated, stickered and topped. And then we had an ice storm, so my wood isn't over there yet. The second half of the wood will get cut Saturday. I'll probably take it all over to the kiln Monday, weather allowing.

    My 2" slabs would cost .65 a board foot to be air dried and then kiln dried. My 5/4 boards will be .55 a board foot. And the 5/4 boards will take 5 months (including a month in the kiln) and the 2" slabs will take 10 months(including a month in the kiln).

    But Oh.My.Gosh. What a huge operation! So much wood stickered up outside, air drying (properly treated and covered, of course), and inside! Oh my gosh! Lots of wood that had gone through the kiln and was done and was for sale.

    I'm sure you've been in many places like that, with huge thick slabs of black walnut and cherry and bird's eye maple, hundreds of different types of wood, but I was just....WOW! :eek::):applaud::bawling::eek2::rofl:
     
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  10. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    For the black walnut, don't let them "steam" it or you'll lose the wonderful color and character. Steaming is used to increase yields with black walnut as it makes the almost white sapwood get brown but negatively, it also reduces the rich coloration of the heartwood to the same ruddy brown. (Walnut also gets lighter in color as it ages and oxidizes once you build with it, unlike other species like cherry that get darker)

    Yea, some of the lumber operations are pretty impressive. The man who recently cut several smaller black walnuts on our property for a USDA study is one of the suppliers of slabs (mostly walnut) to the Nakashima organization. The sawyer has the ability to slab out stuff that's as much as 6 feet wide...and oh how beautiful. My "candy store", however, is Hearne...
     
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